Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: START (02/25/16)
- TITLE: The Dawn of a New Day
By Belinda Peoples
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On Ted’s veranda was an antique day bed. A relic from his younger days, the leather back on it was as weathered and wrinkled as Ted’s own leathery skin. Cup of tea in one hand, bible in the other, Ted gently lowered himself onto the faded, threadbare seat, landing in the same comfortable groove he did every morning. Watching the sunrise from his veranda was a custom Ted adored. It would never get old.
In the grey light of dawn, this warm February morning, Ted had risen from bed unusually early. After a restless sleep, he felt particularly keen to savour the tranquility of the early-morning outdoors.
Nestled in the heart of the Blue Mountains, Ted’s modest cottage faced an audience of thousands upon thousands of sturdy Eucalypts, growing shoulder to shoulder in sandstone up and down the Jamison Valley. Ted built the cottage in 1965 from trees on the property he felled himself. He and his wife, Julie, lived in a caravan with not much of anything for five months as Ted laboured tirelessly to build his new bride the house of her dreams.
Miraculously, God saved their cottage from several bushfires over the years. Ted knew God was with him here. His mind was full to bursting with precious memories from 46 years of wedded bliss spent right here, including the blessing of three children. They were now grown up, but thankfully not living too far away.
Ted sipped his hot tea, feeling the warmth cascade and radiate through his chest and into his belly. The valley was still hushed before the onset of the morning birdsong. A gentle breeze broke through the stillness, whispering through the leaves of the trees. It nudged drops of condensation from the overhanging branches to fall onto Ted’s rusted, corrugated iron roof.
As Ted looked out into the valley, he admired the masterful creation he liked to call his backyard. As the sun crept ever-closer to rising, the colours of sandstone escarpments in their hues of purple, red, orange and yellow became easier to see. Ted smiled as he listened to the chirping of two crickets, stragglers from the night chorus, chattering to each other.
Placing his mug on the wide, wooden arm rest, Ted reached for his bible and placed it, unopened on his lap. He ran his hand over the soft cover and felt the crease in the top corner where it had been thumbed open every morning years ago.
In just a few more minutes, the morning sunlight would broach the top of the ridge, bringing enough light into the valley to suggest the true beginning of a new day.
This morning, the sunrise would bring a new start of a different kind. Ted hoped this day another passion of his from long ago would be rekindled, one that had been neglected for too long. He planned to meet God again in the pages of his bible.
It was something Ted had loved in the days of his childhood and through his teens. Then as the busyness of work and children entered his life, Ted permitted a mountain of excuses to prevent him from reading his bible. Before long, the bible rarely found its way off the shelf.
However, each morning, for the last 46 years, he would come in from the veranda, to the beautiful picture of Julie at the kitchen table, eyebrows furrowed, leaning in close to read her bible’s small print, too stubborn to wear her glasses. Through Julie’s faithful example, Ted humbly acknowledged that making time to read his bible was a choice; one he was choosing not to make.
A few nights ago, Ted spotted his old bible on the bookshelf. The thought to start reading it again played once more on his mind. Tossing and turning last night, he promised God today would be the day, the dawn of a renewed commitment to understand Him better through his Word.
Ted drew in a deep breath of fresh mountain air. On the other side of the valley, at the peak of the ridge, sunlight glistened on the top-most gum leaves of the tallest trees. The time had come.
Ted turned the familiar pages to begin the first chapter of the Book of Genesis.
“In the beginning…”
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